I’m a writer and I ask myself the “what would happen if?” question a lot.
That question is part of my toolkit when I’m starting a new novel. It’s the question that encourages me to try different paths for my stories.
I’ve never asked myself the question so much as I have in the dark hours of the night during the past couple of weeks. The story that’s unravelling on the news every day still seems unbelievable to me. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
My “what would happen if?” questions range from scary world wide problems involving whole continents not being able ride out the virus to equally scary personal fears as I try to assess which of my family and friends might be healthy enough to withstand an encounter with this unknown enemy.
Some of you may know that isolation and not knowing whether I’ll survive or not is not new to me. In the past, I’ve had two bouts of cancer treatment. The day after my daughter’s wedding, I was hospitalised with sepsis when my immune system was weakened by chemotherapy and couldn’t cope with hugs of congratulations. However, this battle just involved me. I didn’t have to worry about my grandchildren, my family and a husband with an “underlying condition”.
Right now, my brain is on danger alert for everyone and it’s exhausting. So many of my writer friends are saying that they are locked down and, although it’s an ideal time to escape into their writing projects, they can’t. I’m sure that’s because all of our “what would happen if?”questions are now about our own world, the survival of Mother Earth and how it will change in future.
I don’t know how you are coping but I’ll share my strategy. I’m trying to structure when and how often I listen to news, I’m trying to ration how long I’m anxious before distracting myself because worry changes nothing and I’m trying to enjoy the pleasures that are still present in this wonderful world every day.
There are good stories as well as bad coming out of this crisis – brave key workers, community spirit, hilarious dark humour and less pollution.
Today I’m in Spain on day 17 of lock down and I’m sitting at my laptop writing this blog. I’m healthy and able to write and that makes me feel blessed.
My motto is to stay safe, be kind and enjoy everything I can. What’s yours?